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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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THE INFINITE POWER

“… having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.” (Ephesians 1:18-21 ESV)

Charles Hodge:

Charles HodgeThe infinite power of God from which so much may be expected, is the same of which we are now the subjects. It is that power which wrought in Christ when it raised him from the dead, and set him at the right hand of God, [Ephesians 1:18-21 ESV]; and which has wrought an analogous change in the believer in raising him from the death of sin, and making him to sit in heavenly places in Christ Jesus; and which still sustains and carries on the work of salvation in the soul. The past is a foretaste and pledge of the future. Those who have been raised from the dead, who have been transformed by the renewing of their minds, translated from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God’s dear Son, and in whom God himself dwells by his Spirit, having already experienced a change which nothing but omnipotence could effect, may well join in the doxology to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we can ask or think. (A Commentary on the Epistle to the Ephesians)

GOD ALMIGHTY

Loraine Boettner:

The Christian knows that the day is certainly coming when, willingly or unwillingly, every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.  In the Scriptures, He is represented to us as God ALMIGHTY, who sits upon the throne of universal dominion.  He knows the end from the beginning and the means to be used in attaining that end.  He is able to do for us exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or even think.  The category of the impossible has no existence for Him “with whom all things are possible,” Matt. 19:26; Mark 10:27.  This, however, does not mean that God has power to do that which is contrary to His nature, or to work contradictions.  It is impossible for God to lie, or to do anything which is morally wrong.  He cannot make two and two equal five, nor can He make a wheel turn around and stand still at the same time.  His omnipotence is as sure a guarantee that the course of the world will conform to His plan as is His holiness a guarantee that all His works will be right. (The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination)

God is much Greater than We can possibly Imagine

The Five Dilemmas of CalvinismCraig R. Brown:

God is much greater than we can possibly imagine. A deity so powerful that He can allow His creatures to make free choices, yet determine from the foundation of time what those choices will be, leaves us in total awe. This truth should make us want to fall on our knees in total praise and submission to Him.

At the same time, this truth should bring tears of thankfulness to our eyes. It is nearly incomprehensible that a God this powerful loved you and me enough not only to choose us from the beginning of time, but also to work all things together for our good. Only an all-powerful God could do this. (The Five Dilemmas of Calvinism)

Faith And Providence

B.H. Carroll

To be able to trust in the providence of God is a necessary step in achieving peace in all circumstances. B.H. Carroll explains below the relationship of faith to providence:

If the foundations be destroyed what can the righteous do? (Psalm 11:3)

Why is your right arm nerveless? Why have you permitted the devil to come and pluck courage and faith and hope out of your heart when the Lord God omnipotent reigneth and reigneth today and reigneth over everything? Let us . . . ascertain the relation of faith to Providence. How manifest and self-evident is this relation? Inquire of your own heart: Does your faith rest in a dead God or a living one? A God who sleeps or who is awake? Do you believe in a God manifest in Christ or without a manifestation . . . .?

Have you faith in the providences of God? The Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us see now if you have faith in Providence. Test it, my brethren. Are you like David once when his heart failed him? Hear his doleful confession, Psalm 73:

“Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart. But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped. For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” (Verses 1-3.)

“Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches. Verily, I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency.” (Verses 12, 13.)

“When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me; until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end. Surely thou didst set them in slippery places; thou casts them down into destruction. How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! They are utterly consumed with terrors.” (Verses 16-19.)

Ah, brother, have you worried over the prosperity of the wicked? Have you been a fool and brutish, like David? Have you stumbled at such thoughts? Then enter the sanctuary. Stand next to God; get behind the curtain; see the reach of God’s foresight and the sweep of His sword of justice, see the threads of all events in His hands, see how He is drawing them to a consummation absolutely at His disposal; then understand. . . .

Jesus, forgive me, if for one treacherous moment I ever allow a shadow of doubt as to divine providence to come into my heart.

Very briefly, in conclusion, what is the relation of prayer to Providence? Let a single scripture express it:

“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest that is passed into the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need”. . . . (Hebrews 4:14-16.)

Many of God’s saints, in the stormiest and darkest periods of their lives, have had that peace, perfect peace, without anxiety in view of trouble or difficulty. “Lord, I trust thee. My song is this: That I have faith in God, faith in the Providence of God; and while wolves may howl around my dwelling, they cannot enter in, and while night may bring her curtains of darkness and wrap the world about, there is a light inside. While winter may come with its cold and chilling blasts and bind in iron the earth outside, it is warm in here. My heart is full of peace because I stayed on God. My trust is in thee.”

Now, brethren, I ask you, when you seriously reflect on what Providence implies, on what Providence is and who Providence is, the relation of faith to Providence and the relation of prayer to Providence ought not your hearts at once to accept this proposition expressed so often in the scriptures? What is it? “The Lord God omnipotent reigneth forever. Let the earth rejoice. Let it rejoice.” Let the world be glad that God reigneth. Trust it. Lean your head on it and your heart on it. Put your soul’s most perfect love upon Jesus.

The Source Of Power

Charles Haddon Spurgeon

From the writings of Charles Spurgeon:

“Who is sufficient for these things?” We are weak, exceedingly weak, every one of us. If there is any brother here who is weaker than the rest, and knows that he is so, let him not be at all cast down about that, for you see, brethren, the best man here, if he knows what he is, knows that he is out of his depth in his sacred calling. Well, if you are out of your depth, it does not matter whether the sea is forty feet or a full mile deep. If the sea is only a fathom deep, you will drown if you be not up borne; and if it be altogether unfathomable, you cannot be more than drowned. The weakest man here is not, in this business, really any weaker than the strongest man, since the whole affair is quite beyond us, and we must work miracles by Divine power, or else be total failures. We have all set up in the Divine profession of working by omnipotence; or, rather, of yielding ourselves up to omnipotence that it may work by us. If, therefore, omnipotence be not within hail, and if the miracle-working power is not within us, then the sooner we go home, and plough the fields, or open shop, or cast up accounts, the better. Wherefore should we undertake what we have not the power to perform? Supernatural work needs supernatural power; and if you have it not, do not, pray you, attempt to do the work alone, lest, like Samson, when his locks were shorn, you should become the jest of the Philistines. (An All-Round Ministry, Chapter 9, “The Preacher’s Power, and the Conditions of Obtaining It.” Now published by Banner of Truth Trust)

The Hand Of Providence

Charles H. Spurgeon

From the writings of Charles H. Spurgeon:

We know that all things work together for good to them that love God. (Romans 8:28)

Upon some points a believer is absolutely sure. He knows, for instance, that God sits in the stern-sheets of the vessel when it rocks most. He believes that an invisible hand is always on the world’s tiller, and that wherever providence may drift, Jehovah steers it. That re-assuring knowledge prepares him for everything. He looks over the raging waters and sees the spirit of Jesus treading the billows, and he hears a voice saying, “It is I, be not afraid.” He knows too that God is always wise, and, knowing this, he is confident that there can be no accidents, no mistakes; that nothing can occur which ought not to arise. He can say, “If I should lose all I have, it is better that I should lose than have, if God so wills: the worst calamity is the wisest and the kindest thing that could befall to me if God ordains it.” “We know that all things work together for good to them that love God.” The Christian does not merely hold this as a theory, but he knows it as a matter of fact. Everything has worked for good as yet; the poisonous drugs mixed in fit proportions have worked the cure; the sharp cuts of the lancet have cleansed out the proud flesh and facilitated the healing. Every event as yet has worked out the most divinely blessed results; and so, believing that God rules all, that He governs wisely, that He brings good out of evil, the believer’s heart is assured, and he is enabled calmly to meet each trial as it comes. The believer can in the spirit of true resignation pray, “Send me what thou wilt, my God, so long as it comes from Thee; never came there an ill portion from Thy table to any of Thy children.”

“Say not my soul, ‘From whence can God relieve my care?

Remember that Omnipotence has servants everywhere.

His method is sublime, His heart profoundly kind,

God never is before His time, and never is behind.'”

(Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening Devotions)

Facing Trials

Charles H. Spurgeon

Quoting Charles H. Spurgeon:

“and the iron did float” (2 Kings 6:7)

Yes, and God can still make iron float — things impossible to us are possible to Him. Out of every difficulty Omnipotence can bring us, only let us in childlike confidence cast our burden upon the Lord. Whatever our trial may be, the Lord will help us through it!

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